Skip to main content

JGSS Supplement on Cross-National Comparisons of Social and Economic Contexts of Aging

Written by: Jennifer Ailshire

Published on: Jun 24, 2021

#Aging-Research #Data-Harmonization

Cross-national research offers a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of how social and economic contexts influence health and well-being among older adults. However, despite the potential knowledge gained from global comparisons of health and aging, researchers have found conducting cross-national comparisons to be challenging. The Gateway to Global Aging Data affords unprecedented opportunities for researchers to carry out cross-national analyses on core questions about aging and populations, using consistent and comparable measures across countries. A supplement to the June 2021 issue of The Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, titled “Cross-National Comparisons of Social and Economic Contexts of Aging”, features a collection of papers using data from the Gateway to answer key questions, fill knowledge gaps, and advance our understanding of social and economic influences on aging. The papers examine social and economic factors across the life course, from early- and mid-life to later life and end of life, including employment, family caregiving, social engagement, and urban/rural residence. As seen in the list below, the papers cover a broad range of aspects of the aging experience, such as physical and cognitive health, successful aging, institutionalization, and place of death, and they do so across a number of countries in Asia and Europe as well as England, Mexico, and the U.S.

Featured Articles

  1.  “Cross-national comparisons of social and economic contexts of aging” by Jennifer Ailshire and Deborah Carr
  2. “Gateway to Global Aging Data: Resources for cross-national comparisons of family, social environment, and health aging” by Jinkook Lee, Drystan Phillips, Jenny Wilkens, and the Gateway to Global Aging Data Team
  3. “Successful aging in East Asia: Comparison among China, Korea, and Japan.” by Takeshi Nakagawa, Jinmyoung Cho, and Dannii Y Yeung
  4. “Adverse employment histories, later health functioning and national labor market policies: European findings based on life history data from SHARE and ELSA.” Morten Wahrendorf, Hanno Hoven, Christian Deindl, Thorsten Lunau, and Paola Zaninotto
  5. “Social engagement and cognitive function of older adults in Mexico and the United States: How universal is the health concordance in couples? by Bret Howrey, Jaqueline Avila, Brian Downer, and Rebeca Wong
  6. "The effect of childhood socioeconomic position and social mobility on cognitive function and changes among older adults: A comparison between the United States and England.” by Jessica Faul, Erin Ware, Mohammed Kabeto, Jonah Fisher, and Ken Langa
  7. “Does gender matter in the receipt of informal care among community-dwelling older adults? Evidence from a cross-national comparative study across the United States, South Korea and China.” by Minyoung Kwak, BoRin Kim, Hyunjoo Lee, and Jiaan Zhang
  8. “ Family caregiving and place of death: Insights from cross-national analysis of the Harmonized End of Life data.” by Jennifer Ailshire, Margarita Osuna, Jenny Wilkens, and Jinkook Lee
  9. “Revisiting the role of gender and marital status as risk factors for nursing home entry.” by Maria Casanova

The papers published in this special issue provide new and innovative insights into the complex ways that micro- and macrosocial factors shape the experiences of older adults worldwide. The research in this issue both shows the promise of cross-national comparative research on aging with harmonized data and highlights potential new lines of inquiry for the research community.

Back to Top